The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. today announced LeChase Construction Services LLC will oversee the design and construction of Explore & More Children's Museum. The nearly 43,000-square-foot building will be located next to the restored canal system at Canalside.
"LeChase clearly understands the complexity of the project, the site constraints and the schedule, which will allow the museum to begin operation in 2018," ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said. "We are happy to have LeChase on board for this project. Explore & More Children's Museum is an important step as we work to redevelop the South Aud Block and build on amenities and attractions ECHDC already put in place on the site."
"This announcement moves us another step closer to the realization of a new, one-of-a-kind institution for children and families at Canalside," Explore & More CEO Douglas Love said. "We look forward to working with LeChase and ECHDC in this project, which will positively impact the lives of so many children for generations to come."
The pre-construction phase services contract amount with LeChase will not exceed $254,000. As per the ECHDC board's previous authorization regarding agreements with Explore & More, ECHDC will contribute a maximum of $9 million to the construction of the building, and Explore & More will fund the remaining portion of the construction costs - currently estimated at $13 million. In addition, Explore & More will be required to fund and construct the fit-out and exhibits of the museum. The funding source for ECHDC is the New York Power Authority.
The LeChase team also includes the Rodriguez Construction Group (minority-owned business enterprise) and Singleton Construction Consultants (woman-owned business enterprise). The pre-construction services, including value engineering and analysis, scheduling, cost estimating and document review, are expected to be completed in November. A groundbreaking is expected for March 2017 with construction completed by June 2018. The museum will open in 2018.
The South Aud Block consists of nearly one acre of development space. It is envisioned that multiple buildings will be constructed there over time. This contract is focused on designing the core and shell of the museum building, which will be located on one of the South Aud Block's parcels (highlighted in orange here). The building will house Explore & More Children's Museum on five levels and will include an outdoor terrace.
In 2012, following an earlier RFP process, Explore & More was selected by ECHDC to locate its new museum at Canalside.
The entire Canalside project area is located along the foot of Main Street and is within walking distance to downtown residential developments, two Marriott hotels, the First Niagara Center (home to the Buffalo Sabres), HARBORCENTER, Erie Basin Marina and Coca-Cola Field (home to the Buffalo Bisons). The area has quickly become one the region's top year-round destinations for passive and active recreational opportunities.
Celebrating its 22nd year in operation, Explore & More Children's Museum provides an environment for creative play and learning through hands-on exhibits, activities and programs that inspire creativity, curiosity and imagination. Explore & More Children's Museum is currently located at 300 Gleed Ave., East Aurora. For more information about the museum, visit www.exploreandmore.org or call 716-655-5131, ext. 11.
For more information on ECHDC, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com.